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A Tale of Two Models:

Young’s double slit experiment


&
Wave duality

Name: Shemmeka Wint

Teacher: Grant

Grade/Class: 11Faith

Date: November 13, 2017

Subject: Physics
Young’s Double Slit Experiment
In 1801 Thomas Young was able to offer some very strong evidence to support the wave model of light.

 He placed a screen that had two slits cut into it in front of a monochromatic (single color) light.
 The results of Young's Double Slit Experiment should be very different if light is a wave or a
particle.
 Let’s look at what the results would be in both situations, and then see how this experiment
supports the wave model.

If light is a particle…

We set up our screen and shine a bunch of monochromatic light onto it.

 If light is a particle, then only the couple of rays of light that hit exactly where the slits are
will be able to pass through.
 Imagine it as being almost as though we are spraying paint from a spray can through the
openings.
 Since they are little particles they will make a pattern of two exact lines on the viewing
screen.
If light is a wave…

 If light is a wave, everything starts the same way, but results we get are very different.
 There are still only two light rays that actually go through the slits, but as soon as they
pass through they start to diffract.
 Remember, diffraction is when light passes through a small opening and starts to spread
out. This will happen from both openings.

Notice that at some points the two sets of waves will meet crest to crest, at other spots crest meets trough.

 Where crest meets crest, there will be constructive interference and the waves will make it to the
viewing screen as a bright spot.
 Where crest meets trough there will be destructive interference that cancel each other out… a
black spot will appear on the screen.
 When this experiment is performed we actually see this, as shown.
We must conclude that light is made up of waves, since particles cannot diffract.